VET’s VIEW: Make sure your garden is a safe place for pets

I love my garden, but as a pet owner you can’t afford to be too proud of your horticultural creation.

That lawn might look fit to host Andy Murray, but if your dog gets the idea that it’s a good place to dig a hole, you’ll have to cancel the strawberries and cream.

And of course that trellis was put there for your cat’s enjoyment, so if some impudent climbing plant gets in the way it had better watch out!

But gardens can fight back, according to insurer More Than.

They surveyed two thousand cat and dog owners and found that eight per cent of pets had ingested poisonous plants, with 43 per cent of these requiring veterinary treatment.

We might think that our pets are too smart to willingly eat plants that are toxic, but given that they all will eat grass from time to time, to help digestive function, it is not surprising that occasionally, perhaps because there is no alternative, or by simple mistake, they will eat the wrong thing.

There is a surprisingly long list of plants that are potentially harmful; to make the point More Than created a garden full of them and very attractive it looked too!

Fortunately in most cases the signs of ingestion are mild – typically gastrointestinal signs such as sickness or diarrhoea and skin irritation.

There are, however, some that have been associated with fatalities in pets, and these include rhododendrons and azaleas, castor oil plant, bulbs such as daffodils, bergenia (elephant ears), delphiniums, oleander, yew, onions and rhubarb.

You can find more information on the internet: for example Dogs Trust and International Cat Care have comprehensive lists of plants to avoid.

If you have pets, these sites are worth checking out, so your garden can be a place for you all to enjoy.